Judge John Hodgman Episode 242: The Long-Sleeved Arm of the Law


Blair brings the case against her husband Jon. In hot weather, Jon would like to wear one of his few treasured tank tops to cool off and feel the breeze. Blair thinks that tank tops on men look terrible and expose their sweaty arms to the masses. Who's right? Who's wrong?

Thanks to Andrew McNair for this week's case name! If you want to name a future episode, like the Judge John Hodgman page on Facebook. We regularly put out a call for submissions.

You can also follow Judge John Hodgman on Twitter @Hodgman and Bailiff Jesse @JesseThorn.

WE NEED YOUR DISPUTES FOR SF SKETCHFEST! We'll be doling out justice in San Francisco on Friday, January 8th at Marines Memorial Theater! If you live in the SF Bay Area and have a beef with a friend, colleague or loved one, submit your case and you may be invited to present it live at our SF Sketchfest taping. More information here - tickets are sold out, but we're still looking for good disputes (you don't have to be a ticketholder, just someone who can get to the show!



Submitted by Blair


Wife and I were really unsure what the outcome would be

Recently ALL cases, regardless of precedent, went to the wife/girlfriend, so wifey argued that she would win. As husbander (We had to negotiate a nickname, as husbandry just wouldn't do) I argued that case precedent showed that a person does as a person likes to do, and their spouse shouldn't fascist them.

Really, I was actually shocked that he won. The last 2 or 3 cases I heard went against established Hodgman law just to side with the woman.


How is this case not called The Right to Bare Arms?

Summer Boy

Jesse Thorn didn't defend the men's tank - even though he sells a pretty badass tank - the summer boy tank - for his other podcast Jordan Jesse Go? Thought that was an omission, particularly since the Summer Boy tank is very inside jokey!

Summary Adjudication

Dear Judge,

If you see this, if you want to summarily resolve portions of cases, that'd be summary "adjudication." FYI.

Your loyal listener,

That was me wearing the Orange Overalls

Thanks for the shoutout John. Although I was playing guitar, not bass. But I understand the mistake. It must have been romantically distracting, staring at my sweaty chest hair creeping out of those hunter orange, bell bottomed overalls.


Charles Rivera

gender equality

Compared to the amount of shoulder and neckline allowed in women's garments I think it's prudish and a bit sexist to apply different standards based on gender. If this was a women's sleeveless top we were discussing there wouldn't even be a court case to podcast.

I agree that with the respondent's closing sentiment about reclaiming it and defusing stereotypes by allowing people like him to wear it.

Keep one -- ditch one

The red one's gotta go. Kudos to the Judge on that call. But the black one *does* look kinda cool -- in both senses of the word. The Judge is right, though, on *not* wearing it in a different country where it could take on negative connotations. LOVE this show!

Antiperspirant Safety: Should You Sweat It?

From the WebMD:

Antiperspirant Safety: Should You Sweat It?

Summary: "Antiperspirants have no proven impact on the risk of diseases like breast cancer and Alzheimer's."

Tank tops

Why didn't Judge Hodgman and Mr. Thorn discuss the difference between an undershirt and a t-shirt? Undershirts are plain and 100% cotton, and come in several styles, crew, v-neck, and tank. A real tank top is an undershirt and should rarely be worn as a T. It is also plain. Souvenir T-shirts (or other decorative and ironic ts) are what should be limited.

Jon should be allowed 4 tank tops due to the packaging of 4. http://tinyurl.com/hle2l3n

I assume because it was

I assume because it was beside the point; the respondent wasn't seeking to own or purchase under garment tank-tops. He expressly wanted to wear ironic/patterned/designed tank-tops as outerwear, and said so.

Missing crux

I think the honorable judge may have missed some portion of the crux in his decision on this case. In Blair's description of her discomfort regarding the tank tops worn by Jon she makes note several times of the "thin straps" and "plunging neckline" that she finds disdainful. She even manages to make a few comments about "men's tank tops" that betray perhaps a discomfort with the tank top as a decidedly queer fashion statement. I applaud the judge for calling out the inherent class and race prejudices that might exist in anti-tank-top sentiment, but perhaps sexuality deserved a mention as well.


I was in the Peace Corps in Africa and the men were strongly discouraged from wearing tank tops. Also, loose lightweight fabric is definitely cooler temperature wise than bare skin. Lastly, Tank-top-John, why do you want to needle your wife over this. It says something not very nice about you. Or her. I suggest you two sort that out.


As a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica we were also told not to wear tank tops. John missed the mark when he said tank tops seem like a Peace Corps thing. Also, the respondent should look into the many varieties of breathable shirt options out there that will not only shield his skin from the harsh rays of the sun, but whisk away moisture to keep him feeling fresh.


Something that might help is wearing technical t-shirts that wick sweat. Wicking fabrics, like Patagonia Capilene or Terramar EC2, keep you dry by moving water from the wet spots to a dry spot.

Want to support the show


My partner and I listen to the show together. It's great fun and it brings us together.
So we'd like to support the show. But we can't because we have no credit card (Europe uses mostly debit; cue David Bowie). Are you on Patreon or something like that? Paypal donation could work as well...


Hi, Laurens! Thanks so much

Hi, Laurens!

Thanks so much for listening, and thanks so much for your kind interest in supporting the show! If you email me at lindsay@maximumfun.org, I can help get you set up with an alternate way to contribute. Thanks again!

Sell the shirts...

Not the tanks. The sweaty T-shirts. You could make a fortune on eBay.

Do you

Mid listen here...
Nothing like a spouse trying to tell another what to wear... especially when that spouse agrees you generally have good judgment and fashion sense and it has been "a couple of years" since wearing the offending garment at a social gathering. Sounds like occasionally modifying his attire for his comfort (or even to display a tattoo) is completely reasonable. Kudos to a dude comfortable with himself and not overly worried about others' opinions of him.

That surfer shirt is pretty

That surfer shirt is pretty cool, though I may only like shirts ironically, I don't know anymore.